Any trend written about for the year 2020 will go down as an epic fail, because who could have known that hoarding toilet paper, sourdough starter, and making bread by buying flour on the black market was 'it'.
Looking ahead to 2021, any forecasting could really be like skating on partly frozen ice as our lives continue to evolve in unimaginable and unexpected ways, at a consistently rapid pace.
The global impact of COVID-19, pushed us to cook from home more, whether we wanted to, or not. We now talk about food and menu fatigue that really means we’re running out of ideas, and truly wanting a break from our own kitchen and cooking. Some of what could unfold in 2021, could include any or all of the below:
Immune ingredients - skywriting “immune boosting” will garner first picks of any package that touts its function of support to our immunity, and will be the 20’s version of the 80's “fat-free”. Even those who had their head in the sand about food and its health benefits, have had to wake up to concepts of the microbiome, fermented foods and vitamins C & D actually helping. Next in line to the immunity marketing will be foods to help manage stress.
Buying with social awareness - further to researching the ingredient list and shopping local, knowing who is behind the brand that you’re buying will now be included in purchasing decisions. Yes, sustainability focused bands like line caught wild fish will stay top of mind, but added to that will be minority owned brands, companies owned and run by women and those known for their ethical labour practices, will all narrow the scope of what’s added to cart, whether in-person or online.
Take-and-bake - yes, meal kits will continue to be all the rage, but further to that will be yet another innovation from restaurants withkits of favourite dishes that can be made at-home. Love a restaurant only pizza topping, but don’t want it only on pizza? Restaurants have already pivoted about 100 times, so what’s another to offer of buying favourite ingredients à la carte alongside your take-and-bake, so you can innovate at home. It’ll be like bringing the restaurant creativity into your kitchen, with the simplicity of a home cooked meal. And don’t forget the accompanying cocktails, mocktails or take-home wine pairings to round out the experience.
Buy local, eat global - search the internet for recipes from that region in Italy that you planned to visit but got grounded. Or try out those Moroccan spices although the markets of Marrakesh are no longer on the flight plan. Our palate or plate needn’t be limited to where we can travel to (because who knows when we will be able to do that again), so bringing the world food experience to any table is only as limited as your Google search keywords and download speed. Our tastebuds will travel the world, while we remain on home terra-firma.
A new way with flour - look out sourdough bread, you've had your day. Here comes the number two carb of all carbs ... pasta. The ultimate comfort can be as easy to make as a braided loaf. And with time time on our hands in yet another lockdown (how many is that now?) bring on the belly-filling comfort food of home made pasta spaghetti, linguini, and gnocchi. Gluten filled or not, that bowl of comfort food is begging to be twirled around your fork-in-spoon and could still have it’s BFF homemade garlic bread nicely placed plate side.
Plant-based garbanzo-bonanza - while plant based alternatives won’t be slowing anytime soon (yes, even fish will be swimming into the vegan aisle), the cauliflower of yester-year will be the ever loving chickpea. It’s cost effectiveness ticks off the need for carefulness and attention to the food budget tally, but won’t hold back on taste and versatility. From tofu-like offerings to frozen desserts, pizza to flour and pasta, look out for this more-than-hummus trend to hit hard.
New entertaining and entertainment - home is where the entertainment is, and with that will come virtual cooking classes and dine-at-home dinner parties made possible by a laptop stand and a wide angle webcam (is there such a thing?!). Can’t miss out on all the dishes and plates garnering the oohs and ahhs of the final feast.
Yes, in 2021 we will all be home-cooking more, ever hopeful of deeper comfort from our food while spending what we have on the brands championing diversity, while looking for immune support and tastes of worldly inspired ingredients. Food will continue to be a source of nourishment, our health and happiness, no matter what on earth is going on outside the kitchen walls.
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